Here’s another thing that may be secretly influencing how your customers think, and it’s right in front of you – under your hands, in fact.
It’s the QWERTY keyboard.Some cognitive scientists say that how a word is typed can affect its meaning. After all, they say, how you speak a word affects its meaning. So why not how you type it?
It’s called the QWERTY effect . To understand it, we need to go back to August 1878, when the QWERTY layout was introduced to keyboards. Back when typewriters were used de rigeur, and before the QWERTY keyboard was introduced, the keys would jam often because the most commonly used letters, and the ones that appear next to each other in most words, would be typed in succession. So the QWERTY keyboard was actually designed to slow down the rate of typing, making it harder for keys to stick together.
Of course, that doesn’t happen any more with computers – but the system stuck.
So what does that have to do with the way we feel about words?
The QWERTY keyboard deliberately makes typing certain words difficult. And the study says that the more difficult it is to type a word, the more likely we are to associate that word with a negative feeling.
Difficult-to-type names and words soon lead to irritation, albeit subconscious irritation, that affects the way we feel about things.
Research is ongoing and the jury is still out on this one, but it doesn’t hurt to consider the QWERTY effect when naming a brand or a product. When you’re coming up with a name for something, try typing it to see how easy or difficult it is to type. It may have an impact on the way that your customers see you.
The stakes become higher when you take into account the use of smartphones. Smartphones and tablets come with their own keyboard usage challenges, so if a product name is difficult to type on a smartphone keyboard, the QWERTY effect study indicates that it’s likely that users will connect negative associations with the product. Singapore’s iOS penetration ranks among the highest in the world , which means that more people than ever are accessing the internet through mobile devices. This makes it vital for copywriters to take into account the QWERTY effect and its implications on customer decision-making.
Something to think about:
Ever noticed that most people are right-handed, but most letters in the keyboard are on the left side? What are the possible implications for this on the QWERTY effect? Share your perspective with us and we’ll publish your answers!
Comments or questions are welcome.